The global velocity field of the filament in NGC 6334

Alexander Zernickel, Peter Schilke, Rowan Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


    Aims: Star formation involves the collapse of gas from the scale of giant molecular clouds down to dense cores. Our aim is to trace the velocities in the filamentary, massive star-forming region NGC 6334 and to explain its dynamics.

    Methods: The main filament was mapped with the single-dish telescope APEX in HCO+ (J = 3-2) at 267.6 GHz to trace the dense gas. In order to reproduce the position-velocity diagram, we use a 3D radiative transfer code and create a model of a cylinder that undergoes a gravitational collapse toward its center.

    Results: We find a velocity gradient in the filament from the end toward its center, with the highest masses being found at both ends. Similar velocities have been predicted by recent calculations of the gravitational collapse of a sheet or cylinder of gas, and the observed velocities are consistent with these predictions. The 3D structure is revealed by taking the inclination and curvature of the filament into account. The free-fall collapse timescale of the filamentary molecular cloud is estimated to be ~1 Myr.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberL2
    Number of pages4
    JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


    • stars: formation
    • submillimeter: ISM
    • ISM: kinematics and dynamics
    • Techniques: radial velocities
    • Line: profiles


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